Disney World Orlando Tips and Tricks

19 Apr

mickey mouse signI am fully aware that Disney is NOT in Virginia.  That being said, I seem to have a lot of people ask me about “doing Disney”; which appears to be a rite of passage for anyone who has children.  So, for what they’re worth, here are my tips.

1.  Plan for the trip.  Disney World in Orlando, Florida (unlike Disneyland’s Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo and California) is not something to be done as a spur of the moment afterthought (unless you reside in Florida and go there regularly).  Prices vary greatly depending on the time of year, so do your research and try to avoid the busy seasons of spring break, summer break and Christmas holidays, if at all possible.

2.  Do research on the web.  There are lots of Disney World forums filled with people who live for vacationing with mouse ears on.  Observe and ask questions….these people know their stuff.  Disney World discounts are not easy to come by and are often reserved for those in the “know”.  Sign up for a free Disney Vacation Planner and that will put you on the mailing list for discounts.  Also, consider getting a Disney credit card – they will also send you free promotions and a portion of all your purchased go toward a vacation.  One of the best sites for all-discounts-Disney is mousesavers.com.  Sign up and you will be the first to know about significant promotions and discounts.

3.  Before going on your trip, buy some Disney “stuff” at Target and Disney Outlet (they have both online and retail stores).  This way, you will have something to give the kids and will avoid paying $30 for a plastic toy in the park.

4.  Stay in a hotel in the park if you can.  There are 4 levels of accomodations ranging from economical to very nice (note that I am not calling anything they have in the resort “luxury”).  There are benefits to staying on-site that just make life easier, such as:  free transportation to and from the airport, free transportation to all areas within the resort, extra hours the park is open just for resort guests, preferred reservations at “character meals”, etc.

5.  The best investment I have made in our Disney World vacations has been to sign up for a customized tour guide from tourguidemike.com.  Mike is a VIP tour guide at Disney World and knows EXACTLY how to see Disney with the least amount of lines and stress.  The first time we went, we found out that we were going during the busiest week of the year.  Mike’s guide was our bible for the week and we managed to never wait in a line or fight crowds.  For $21.95, it is well worth every penny.

6.  Do not go in a large group.  The larger your group, the less you will see.  Staying together can be difficult, matching adults with various aged kids for rides while other kids want to run off, trying to get tables together for meals, seats together on trams…it’s a hassle.  You will end up spending a lot more time waiting on reach other than enjoying yourselves.

7.  Don’t spend all day at the park.  Go in the morning, early, before the crowds arrive.  Then, go back to your hotel and enjoy the pool (while the crowds are at the park), take a nap (the kids need it!) and go back to the park in the evening while the crowds are at dinner.

8.  It will not be perfect.  Last time we were at Disney World, I was so disheartened to see parents swearing at each other, kids screaming and crying and families just appearing completely stressed out.  Why?  It’s supposed to be a vacation.  If you cannot handle crowds, last minute changes in plans, heat, loud noises, etc., than Disney World is not for you.  Take the time to explain to the kids where they’re going and what is expected of them.  When kids are pulled unexpectedly out of their comfort zone and thrust into the chaos of Disney, of course they are going to misbehave!

9.  Don’t get addicted.  Disney World is a drug-like dreamland that can easily suck you in.  Yes, it’s fun and magical and people love it…but it is not cultured.  It is a fantasy-land that can be a great vacation, but not the only vacation.  There are many, many other places offering kids a sense of adventure, family togetherness and affordability along with a learning and cultured atmosphere.  My two cents….there’s more for kids to see in the world besides Orlando, Florida.

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One Response to “Disney World Orlando Tips and Tricks”

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  1. Vacations MAX Blog » Blog Archive » Disney World Orlando Tips and Tricks - April 29, 2009

    […] post syndicated from Virginia is for Kids! and sponsored by Jamaica Vacations Share and Enjoy:These icons link to social bookmarking sites […]

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